Myanmar travel guide for Filipinos 4: Everything Mandalay

Mandalay was the royal capital of the last Burmese Kingdom before the monarchy was abolished as a result of a disastrous war with the British.  Despite being known today as the cultural capital of Myanmar, it is actually not very old, having been established only in 1857. Continue reading


Myanmar travel guide for Filipinos 3: Everything Bagan

Sunrise over Bagan. (Photo courtesy of Ann Umaña.)

More often than not, Bagan is the highlight of any tourist’s Myanmar itinerary. Like most tourist spots in the country, it was once a royal capital in the olden days of the First Burmese Empire. Its main feature are the thousands of pagodas of various sizes that dot a vast plain adjacent to the Ayeyarwaddy River. Continue reading

Myanmar travel guide for Filipinos 2: Everything Yangon

(Photo courtesy of Ann Umaña.)

I realized that a general travel guide would not enable me to say everything I want to share regarding traveling within Myanmar.  So I thought of creating this supplement to provide some helpful tips that are unique to some specific areas in the country.  In our 7-day trip, we were able to visit 3 of the top 4 tourist destinations in Myanmar.  These are Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay.  Together with Inle Lake (which we were not able to visit) they are collectively known as the “Big 4” of Burmese tourism. Continue reading

Myanmar travel guide for Filipinos 1: Pre-departure and general concerns

I decided to leapfrog over a year’s worth of pending drafts and backlog to create this Myanmar travel guide primarily for 2 reasons: (1) I want to do this while all details of the trip are still fresh in my mind.  A few months from now, I would have already forgotten half of them and more so if I let a year pass without writing down anything.  And (2) I want to come up with a guide that is still relevant.  As I mentioned before, a lot of changes are happening in Myanmar, and at a fast pace at that.  It would be pretty much a waste of time to make a travel guide no one can use. Continue reading

Gigantes Islands Travel Guide

(Photo courtesy of Richie Bulda)

The Gigantes Islands, with all its beaches, caves and rich marine life, is a real gem in the rough in the province of Iloilo.  Its sheer distance from Iloilo City and the rest of the Panay mainland however ensures that it almost always gets bypassed as a tourism destination of beach goers and backpackers in favor of the much nearer municipality of Concepcion or the more accessible province of Guimaras. Continue reading

The 24-hour Mui Ne Travel Guide

If you’re vacationing in Saigon and you have 24 hours to spare, you can explore a bit of the southern Vietnamese countryside by taking an overnight trip to Mui Ne.  In contrast to the busy streets and tall buildings of Saigon, Mui Ne’s seaside location offers a more laid back atmosphere for tourists looking to escape the city for a little relaxation and sightseeing. Continue reading

Vietnam-Cambodia Travel Tips

Just to wrap up this series so I can move on to blogging about more recent travels, I thought of consolidating information which I think would be useful to anyone who wants to travel to both Vietnam and Cambodia in one trip.  I already made a sample itinerary and itemized budget estimate for a 7-day trip so you can refer to those entries in addition to this. Continue reading

Budget Estimate for a 7-day Vietnam-Cambodia Tour

To get straight to the point, this entire post can be summarized in one figure: USD 400.

But predictably, you’d all want a breakdown of the expenses as a guide for making your own budget estimate, which necessitates a blog post.  Making this task confusing is that there were 4 different currencies involved when I traveled: Philippine pesos, U.S. dollars, Cambodian riels, and Vietnamese dongs [cue juvenile sniggering].  I’ve also committed the unforgivable sin of forgetfulness when I stopped listing down my expenses after the second day.  And so I’ll be doing a lot of recalling, guesstimating, and cross-referencing with some receipts I kept. Continue reading

Suggested 7-day Itinerary for Vietnam and Cambodia

So I’m finally starting on the Vietnam/Cambodia blogs.  I initially planned to create the suggested itinerary and budget estimate towards the tail end of the series but since I’m slowly beginning to forget details of the trip, I figured I’d do these two first before I forget a lot more.

My trip actually took 9 calendar days from start to finish, but it’s the 7 full days in the middle of it that involves the most activities.  This is just a suggested itinerary.  I intend to create a more comprehensive travel guide in the future with which you can cross-reference when reading this entry.  (Update: I already created the budget estimate.  Click here.) Continue reading

Mt. Batulao Travel Guide


  • Drinking water – 1-1.5 liters for day hikes, 2-3 liters for overnight camps
  • Backpack – for better balance and stability
  • Extra dry clothes
  • Cellphone
  • Camera
  • Plastic bags and/or dry sacks – to waterproof gadgets and extra dry clothes
  • Cash in small bills – in case you run out of water, there’s a lot of huts selling drinks
  • Packed lunch – optional
  • Hiking pole – optional Continue reading